The 2016 Heat Action Plan is an updated version of the first comprehensive early warning system and preparedness plan for extreme heat events in India launched in Ahmedabad in 2013. The Plan creates immediate and longer-term actions to increase preparedness, information-sharing, and response coordination to reduce the health impacts of extreme heat on vulnerable populations.
The Heat Action Plan aims to implement four key strategies:
- Building public awareness and community outreach to communicate the risks of heat waves and implement practices to prevent heat-related deaths and illnesses. Disseminating public messages on how to protect people against extreme heat through media outlets and informational materials such as pamphlets and advertisements on heat stress prevention. New efforts being launched as part of this year’s Plan include the use of modern media such as SMS, text messages, email, radio and mobile applications such as WhatsApp. Special efforts will be made to reach vulnerable populations through inter-personal communication as well as other outreach methods.
- Initiating an early warning system and inter-agency coordination to alert residents of predicted high and extreme temperatures. The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation has created formal communication channels to alert governmental agencies, the Met Centre, health officials and hospitals, emergency responders, local community groups, and media outlets of forecasted extreme temperatures.
- Capacity building among health care professionals to recognize and respond to heat-related illnesses, particularly during extreme heat events. Such trainings focus on primary medical officers and other paramedical staff, and community health staff so they can effectively prevent and manage heat-related cases so as to reduce mortality and morbidity.
- Reducing heat exposure and promoting adaptive measures by launching new efforts including mapping of high-risk areas of the city, increasing outreach and communication on prevention methods, access to potable drinking water and cooling spaces during extreme heat days. Collaboration with non-governmental organizations is also identified as a means to expand outreach and communication with the city’s most at-risk communities.
- Themes:Advocacy & Media, Capacity Development, Civil Society/NGOs, Community-based DRR, Early Warning, GIS & Mapping, Health & Health Facilities, Information Management, Vulnerable Populations, Water
- Hazards:Heat Wave